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Carbon Monoxide and Nitric Oxide Mediate Cytoskeletal Reorganization in Microvascular Cells via Vasodilator-Stimulated Phosphoprotein Phosphorylation : Evidence for Blunted Responsiveness in Diabetes

American Diabetes Association
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2337/db08-0381
  • Complications
  • Biology
  • Medicine


OBJECTIVE— We examined the effect of the vasoactive agents carbon monoxide (CO) and nitric oxide (NO) on the phosphorylation and intracellular redistribution of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a critical actin motor protein required for cell migration that also controls vasodilation and platelet aggregation. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— We examined the effect of donor-released CO and NO in endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and platelets from nondiabetic and diabetic subjects and in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMECs) cultured under low (5.5 mmol/l) or high (25 mmol/l) glucose conditions. VASP phosphorylation was evaluated using phosphorylation site-specific antibodies. RESULTS— In control platelets, CO selectively promotes phosphorylation at VASP Ser-157, whereas NO promotes phosphorylation primarily at Ser-157 and also at Ser-239, with maximal responses at 1 min with both agents on Ser-157 and at 15 min on Ser-239 with NO treatment. In diabetic platelets, neither agent resulted in VASP phosphorylation. In nondiabetic EPCs, NO and CO increased phosphorylation at Ser-239 and Ser-157, respectively, but this response was markedly reduced in diabetic EPCs. In endothelial cells cultured under low glucose conditions, both CO and NO induced phosphorylation at Ser-157 and Ser-239; however, this response was completely lost when cells were cultured under high glucose conditions. In control EPCs and in HMECs exposed to low glucose, VASP was redistributed to filopodia-like structures following CO or NO exposure; however, redistribution was dramatically attenuated under high glucose conditions. CONCLUSIONS— Vasoactive gases CO and NO promote cytoskeletal changes through site- and cell type–specific VASP phosphorylation, and in diabetes, blunted responses to these agents may lead to reduced vascular repair and tissue perfusion.

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